GUEST POST BY MARY GODIER
Let’s be honest.
Deciding to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur, whether as a full-time job, or as a freelancer, to start, is absolutely terrifying.
I’m talking occasionally paralyzing fear. All you can see is the countless ways that this dream of yours might fail. The possible embarrassment, the judgment of others, the financial implications; there are so many reasons we come up with to keep us from following our hearts. Admittedly, I still fall victim to being my biggest critic and naysayer. I’m lucky to have a husband who believes in me, almost to a fault, but still, the fear creeps in.
Through this journey, I’ve discovered a two-fold piece of advice that creatives must keep in mind when delving into these pursuits.
community is crucial /
As I have allowed myself to open up more about my dreams and creative endeavors, I began to find confidence in them by surrounding myself with amazingly talented entrepreneurs; mostly women and many in the same creative field as I am.
Now, that initially seems a bit counter-intuitive to most; “aren’t these business owners, and in particular, these women, supposed to be my competition?” Well, in some cases, yes, but that’s what many misunderstand as they make the shift to entrepreneurialism.
Competition doesn’t have to be bad, and it doesn’t have to make an enemy out of the amazing stylist (or artist, or florist) whose creative endeavors you covet on the regular.
In fact, these people, in my experience, are often a wonderful resource, if for nothing more than for moral and emotional support, because, they’ve been there. That’s right, these women drowning in sponsored posts and big brand collaborations were once struggling to find their way.
People aren’t born a success story; they just aren’t, they have to work for it, just like we are right now. These people can be great for bouncing ideas off of, asking for advice on business practices, or just venting to about your struggles and frustrations. Unless they’re super-humans, they’ve experienced these issues too, which if nothing else, is a comforting reminder to those of us in the beginning states of the creative hustle.
sense of self is key /
Now, this can’t be where you get all of your confidence from. While, in my opinion, community is necessary, ultimately, it’s all about you. I find myself, almost daily, having to remind myself that my perspective on creative projects is unique and special and that I have something to offer the creative community that doesn’t already exist.
No matter how many friends or family members might try to instill this confidence in me, it’s something I have to hone in on from within, in order to keep myself from slipping into someone else’s view of my own success. Sometimes, even my most supportive creative friends and colleagues aide in my falling into the comparison trap by making suggestions about my work.
While I know they mean only the best for me, a certain level of self-confidence in who I am, what I’m good at and how I want to spend my time is crucial. Friends who suggest I try wedding photography do so because they want me to find more success; however, I don’t have an interest in the wedding business at this time, and that’s okay.
It’s okay to stay true to what you love and have an understanding of what you’re good at, and own it.
AND YES, SOME DAYS THAT WILL FEEL IMPOSSIBLE.
You’ll think, “How can I possibly create something cooler (or more interesting, or more beautiful, or more lucrative, etc) than they did?” or “How can I possibly expect to be successful with so many other amazing creatives in this field?” You’ll compare yourself endlessly and mercilessly to others and their success. The only advice I have to offer on those days is to accept the feeling, and then let it go.
Seriously, sing Frozen if you have to.
Don’t hold on to those comparisons, because the fact of the matter is, as an amazing creative maven once said to me, “You are an expert in yourself.” Above all else, you have to take ownership, and accept your own unique, creative genius. Once you decide that your view has value, serious value, that’s when you’ll find the confidence to continue putting in the work everyday, towards realizing your dreams.
BECAUSE DON'T FORGET: YOU ARE STRAIGHT UP MAGIC.
Mary Godier is the voice behind Mary Elizabeth Creative, through which she provides creative consulting and services in the fields of photography, event planning, brand strategy and digital marketing. Her goal is to help companies and entrepreneurs hone in on their brand voice and to help bolster the creative community by strengthening the connections throughout it. Mary spends her free time drawing, writing, eating at new restaurants, or strolling through D.C. with her husband (usually while trying to pet other people’s dogs, because she just can’t help herself).
Website | Instagram: @itsmaryelizabeth